Medical technologist is working in the laboratoryLaboratories are great settings for cultivating scientific curiosity and knowledge, where theories are put into practice and see the results of applications firsthand. In most educational institutions, labs are well-equipped with various tools and chemicals for experiments, ranging from basic tests to relatively advanced ones.

As with any environment that involves scientific equipment and inexperienced hands, accidents can happen. The following are some of the most common mishaps in laboratories populated with students who are either too excited or too preoccupied/uninterested in listening to instructions.

Spills and Breaks

Glassware is a general lab fixture, thus dropping and spilling its contents are frequent occurrences (especially for the more careless types). Reinforcing the virtue of attentive, step-by-step operation and handling of chemicals helps minimize accidental spills – and their potentially disastrous consequences. Having a handy spill kit nearby is also advisable for safe and proper clean-up of spilled fluids, should they occur.

Heat and Chemical Burns

Improper handling of hot tools and chemicals often results in severe burns. Using tongs and water baths prevent any harmful contact with hot surfaces. Emphasise the importance of using protective clothing like gloves and coats. Never underestimate the volatile nature of certain chemicals by measuring them carefully, and using only appropriate containers for transfer and storage.


Washing hands before and after lab sessions are constant reminders for a reason. Hand-washing procedures prevent students from carrying whatever foreign substance they interacted with outside of the lab – risking contamination of other surfaces (tables, clothing, etc.) and causing illness or other harmful complications. Make hand-washing with clean water and soap for strict compliance for anyone who enters and exits the lab.

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Briefing students and colleagues alike on safety rules not only prevents catastrophic lab accidents, but it is also an indication of a successful learning environment. Spending appropriate time on imparting safty measures is equally important as the knowledge shared inside the lab.